Cable TV

DAS Phase III: Govt claims 75% STB seeding; MSOs claim 50% across India

NEW DELHI: Even as the Government claimed total success in the switchover to Phase III of Cable TV Digitisation from today (1 January, 2016), there were reports from various multi system operators (MSOs) in different parts of the country who complained of shortage of set top boxes (STBs).
An MSO in a city that came under Phase II in Madhya Pradesh told that he had received frantic calls from some MSOs wanting STBs.
Similarly, an LCO in Mumbai said that he had received similar calls from other parts of Maharashtra. He claimed that there was just around 50 per cent seeding across the country.
The Hyderabad High Court has already extended the Digital Addressable System (DAS) deadline for two months in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana.
Meanwhile, the 13th meeting of the Task Force was told on 30 December that more than 75 per cent seeding of STBs had been acomplished.
Describing the progress as “very positive,” an official release today noted that seeding has taken place in most of the notified urban areas with STBs, while the seeding-dark area were only around 400 out of more than 6000 urban areas, many of which had population below 1000 while the rest were in areas having population of less than 5000. 
The seeding figures as shared in the meeting indicated a high level of seeding in the country, to the extent of more than 75 per cent, excluding Tamil Nadu where certain legal matters have restricted the process of digitisation. This figure was expected to be higher when all the registered MSOs provide their final figures. 

Broadcasters were advised to ensure that no analogue signals are transmitted in Phase III areas after 31 December but without affecting analogue signals in Phase IV areas. 

It was unanimously decided at the meeting presided over by Special Secretary J S Mathur that looking to the positive outcome of the Digitisation Phase III exercise and the fact that the notification for the cut-off date for phase III was issued more than a year ago, there was absolutely no requirement for extension of the cut-off date. 
The Task Force, where Joint Secretary (Broadcasting) R Jaya and Adviser Yogendra Pal were present, noted that various awareness campaigns, Task Force and MSO sub-group meetings and orientation workshops for the state and district Nodal officers have been held during this period. A multilingual toll free helpline (1800 180 4343) has also been made operational.

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